O3b Exercises Additional Launch Option on Arianespace Contract
[Satellite TODAY 12-13-11] O3b Networks exercised the first of the two options in its contract with Arianespace for an additional launch in 2014 to support the O3b satellite constellation, the broadband satellite service provider announced Dec. 9.
By exercising the option, O3b has allocated a total of three launches of 12 satellites to Arianespace. The first eight O3b satellites will be lofted into orbit during 2013 by two Soyuz launch vehicles operating from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana. Arianespace will now launch a third group of four satellites on a Soyuz for O3b in 2014.
“With Soyuz, Arianespace offers O3b a great solution that will enable faster, better and more affordable services to our customers as we expand the O3b constellation from eight to 12 satellites,” O3b CEO Steve Collar said in a statement.
Separately, Arianespace announced it is beginning construction of a third dispenser and is accelerating the launch schedule allowing O3b to meet the growing capacity needs of its customers.
O3b, whose investors include SES, Google, Liberty Global and HSBC, plans to deploy a new satellite infrastructure providing broadband Internet access to emerging countries.